"The Lady and the Snape"
STANDARD DISCLAIMER: The HP characters belong to JKR. I thought I was making money off of this but it turned out they were paying me in leprechaun gold…
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Unless you've read my fic First Day Back (and the ones before that one, I suppose…), this fic will make absolutely NO sense to you! Sorry, but that's just how it is. OK, I admit it - all this is just a clever scheme to get you to read ALL of my fics… bwaaa ha ha ha ha!
EXTRA CREDIT: Five points to the house of each person
who correctly identifies Amanda's reference to "eleven". No, it's not HP-related!
You Say It's Your Birthday
"So who's going to do it?" Harry
asked. He and his friends were huddled together in the Gryffindor common
room, plotting their latest scheme.
"Not me!" Neville replied.
"Come on, he doesn't hate you as much as he used to," Ron reasoned.
"Oh no," Neville protested. "He hates me just as much as ever, but he's hiding it better now, that's all!"
"I don't think he's going to go for it," Harry said.
"Oh, I think he will," Hermione said confidently. "We only have to get him to hear us out."
"Good luck!" Ron exclaimed, rolling his eyes.
"We have to figure out which of us he hates the LEAST, and that's who we'll send." Harry decided. Hermione sighed.
"I'll go," she said, rising. "But you guys have to come along."
"He HATES us!" Ron protested. "He won't even listen to you if we're there."
"Use the Invisibility Cloak," she suggested. Her voice hardened. "I'm NOT doing this alone."
"Oh all right," Harry said, standing. "I'll go get it."
"He's NOT going to go for it,"
Harry whispered as they followed Hermione through the halls.
"Why didn't you say so before?" Ron asked as they reached the steps leading down to the dungeons.
"I DID say so before," Harry reminded him.
"Will you be quiet!" Hermione hissed. "You're supposed to be invisible… and SILENT!" They reached Snape's office and Hermione knocked on the door.
"Come," Snape's voice called.
"Oh boy," Neville said. "This is going to be bad."
"Shhhh!" the others admonished as Hermione opened the door. Snape was seated at his desk, reading a scroll. "Professor Snape?" she asked timorously.
"Yes, Granger?" he said. Hermione noted that his tone was not particularly welcoming.
"Um… we were wondering… er, I mean, I was wondering…"
"I don't have all day, Granger," he said impatiently without looking up from his scroll. Hermione took a deep breath.
"Cynthia Hathaway has been tutoring Neville, and - " At the mention of Cynthia Hathaway's name, Snape looked up. Encouraged, Hermione continued. "Saturday's her birthday. The Ravenclaws were going to have a surprise party for her that night, but she accidentally found out about it, so they've told her it's cancelled. We were wondering if - " She realized that she now had his full attention. Smiling slightly, she continued. " - if we could have it in the Potions classroom on Saturday morning when she's supposed to be tutoring Neville. She thinks the party's been cancelled, so she'll never suspect…" Her voice trailed off as she watched Snape think this over. A new thought entered her head. "It's a very special birthday for her, Professor Snape. She'll be turning eighteen."
"Oh?" he asked in a deliberately neutral tone.
"Yeah," Hermione said, suppressing a smile. "So we really wanted to make it a - "
"What time?" he asked, cutting her off.
"I'm sorry," Hermione said. "What - "
"What time will you need for me to open the classroom?" he asked. The impatient edge was back in his voice.
"Oh," Hermione said, surprised. "Well… she's supposed to meet Neville there at ten… we'd need time to set up… would eight be too early?"
"No. Eight would be fine." He picked up his scroll again, clearly indicating that the interview was over. Hermione turned to leave, then remembered something.
"Of course you're invited," she added suddenly. Snape's eyebrows went up. "Um… in case you were wondering," she continued. He nodded.
"All right, Granger," he said in an odd tone, returning to his scroll.
"Professor Snape?" she asked. He looked up, irritated.
"Yes?" he snapped. She smiled at him.
"Thank you." His expression softened.
"You're welcome, Granger." he said quietly, and stunned her by actually returning her smile.
"Well, THAT went well, didn't
it?" Hermione asked when they arrived back at the Gryffindor common room.
"You were brilliant!" Ron exclaimed, throwing off the Invisibility Cloak and sinking into a chair. "It's a special birthday! She'll be eighteen!" he mimicked, grinning. "I LOVE how you managed to work that information in there!" Hermione smiled.
"That WAS pretty good, wasn't it?" she asked modestly.
"Keep it up, Ron," Harry told him as he folded the Cloak. "Her head's not big enough as it is!" Ron laughed.
"I never thought I'd see the day," Neville mused. "We're actually having a PARTY in the Potions classroom, and SNAPE is going along with it! Did Hell freeze over and no one told me?"
"No, Hell didn't freeze," Hermione said, smiling. "But maybe something else will thaw a bit!"
As promised, the Potions classroom
was open when they arrived on Saturday morning, but Snape himself was nowhere
to be seen.
"I wonder where Snape is," Hermione said, handing a box of party decorations to one of the Ravenclaws.
"Maybe he's brewing up a Love Potion to spike the punch with," Ron suggested.
"You invited SNAPE?" one of the Ravenclaw seventh years asked. She sounded dismayed.
"Of course we invited him," Harry said, suddenly realizing that the conversation in the room had come to a halt and he had everyone's undivided attention. "We couldn't NOT invite him," he continued reasonably. "It would have been rude." Several groans were heard from around the room.
"Oh boy, this is going to be SOME fun party," another Ravenclaw girl said sarcastically. "Thanks a LOT, Potter." Harry shrugged.
"Hey everyone!" Amanda Lupin said. She walked into the classroom carrying a portable CD player. Remus Lupin followed closely behind her carrying their gift and a box of CDs.
"Where shall I put this?" he asked cheerfully, holding up the gift. One of the Ravenclaws gestured towards a desk already piled high with presents. Harry and Ron wandered over to another table to check out the refreshments. Harry opened a bottle of butterbeer, while Ron helped himself to a Chocolate Frog. Neville appeared in the doorway carrying a large, elaborately wrapped box.
"It's just arrived," he said breathlessly.
"Thank God," Hermione said, hurrying over to help him. "They'd promised it would be here yesterday… oh my goodness, it's not at all heavy!"
"No," Neville agreed. "At least THAT part of the advertising was true!" Together, they placed the large box on the gift table and then drifted over to stand with Ron and Harry near the refreshments. Amanda and Remus were on the other side of the room, murmuring over her CD player. She tried one CD after another, with no results. She was still pushing buttons and frowning when Remus took out his wand and tapped it a few times, causing it to blare into sudden life.
"UPTOWN GIRL!" Billy Joel sang at ear-shattering volume. "SHE'S BEEN LIVING IN HER UPTOWN WORLD! BET SHE - " Amanda frantically stabbed buttons until it fell silent once more.
"Sorry," she told the room in general. She shrugged apologetically. "What can I say? It goes up to eleven." Harry, Hermione, and a few of the Muggle-born Ravenclaws laughed. Everyone else looked puzzled. Professor Trelawney came fluttering into the Potions classroom.
"I sense there is reason for great celebration," she twittered in her whispery voice. "The planets - "
"The only planet I have any curiosity about is the one you originally came from, Trelawney," a new voice said bitingly. They all turned to see Professor Snape standing in the doorway, and more than a few eyes widened in astonishment. His appearance was quite shocking. Though Snape invariably dressed in black, the robes he wore today were done in deep blue silk and patterned with little crescent moons embroidered in silver thread. Even more amazing -
"I don't believe it!" Harry exclaimed in a whisper.
"He's washed his hair!" was Hermione's equally astonished reply. Snape's hair, which usually hung in lank, greasy locks, looked clean, soft, and silky - and it was even still damp!
"Must've taken a tanker truck worth of shampoo," Ron observed quietly. "And wait'll Dumbledore gets the hot water bill for Snape's fifteen hour shower!"
"Is that cologne I smell?" Hermione asked, sniffing the air in disbelief.
"Either that, or there's a dead rat under Snape's desk again," Neville cracked.
"You look very nice this morning, Professor Snape," Amanda was saying. "Blue suits you, you know." Snape's eyebrows went up as if to say, What, THIS old thing? Professor Trelawney looked Snape up and down and smiled widely.
"Ahhhh," she breathed, clutching at her heart with one hand. "I sense - " A Ravenclaw seventh year came hurrying into the classroom.
"Quick," she said breathlessly. "She's coming!" Snape shut the door and murmured something under his breath, plunging the Potions classroom into blackness. There were a few whispers and uneasy giggles as they waited for the guest of honor's arrival.
"That had better not be your hand I'm feeling, Ron," Hermione whispered indignantly.
"Sorry, that was me," Neville said sheepishly. "I was reaching for a Chocolate Frog."
"Well, I'm not hiding them THERE, I promise!" she told him. There was a tap at the door.
"Hello?" Cynthia Hathaway called. There was the sound of people shushing one another throughout the room. "Neville, are you in there?" The door opened a crack, admitting a sliver of light from the hallway. "Professor Snape?" From out of the darkness, Snape spoke a word and the sudden light dazzled everyone's eyes.
"Surprise!" they yelled. The books Cynthia was carrying fell to the floor.
"Oh my GOD!" she exclaimed, blinking in shock and grinning. The CD player blared into life again.
"You say it's your birthday!" the Beatles sang. "It's my birthday too - yeah! They say it's your birthday! We're gonna have a good time!" Cynthia was laughing.
"I can't believe this!" she said, blushing and putting her hands to her cheeks. "Thank you all so much!"
"Oh did we miss the surprise?" Dumbledore asked, sounding disappointed. He stood in the doorway with Professor McGonagall.
"Only just," Remus told him. He and Amanda walked over to converse with the new arrivals. Professor Trelawney drifted over to the refreshments table, hovering there like a giant insect and twittering to herself.
"I can't believe this!" Cynthia repeated, now surrounded by a crowd of Ravenclaws. "I knew you were having a party for me, but I thought it was to be tonight - "
"We couldn't have done it without Professor Snape," Hermione said. Cynthia turned to look at her. "If it weren't for him, there wouldn't have been a surprise. I knew you would never suspect your party would be HERE!"
"You're right!" Cynthia agreed, laughing. A few of the Ravenclaws were glaring at Hermione. It seemed that Snape enjoyed the same popularity with Cynthia's classmates as with the rest of the school, excluding Slytherin.
"What's with him, anyway?" one of the Ravenclaws asked. "He looks like he's taken a bath for a change."
"Oh come on," Cynthia chided. "I keep telling you he's not as bad as all that. Honestly, I don't understand why people dislike him so!" This time it was Ron's turn to choke on the butterbeer. He was rewarded with an elbow in the ribs from Hermione.
CONTINUED IN CHAPTER 2, "Don't Stand So Close To